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A fun horror anthology, although far from one of the best.

  • May 1, 2011
Rating:
+3
*** out of ****

Anthology films are not my favorite, but I do enjoy the well-made ones from time-to-time. Even more-so, I enjoy a HORROR anthology, and those don't come along too often. And when they do, sadly, they almost always turn out to be trash. This is because with an anthology film, you need to tell a story even if as a whole, the thing feels uneven. It's damn hard to make a good anthology film; one that makes sense and is worth the viewer's valuable time. But they've done it before, and by golly, they've done it here.

"Black Sabbath" is a delightful, delirious creep-show; a magnificently macabre anthology film kept together by master filmmakers doing what they love to do: make horror films. This film is a winner in a number of ways, and I could tell that from the very beginning. I'm not so sure if it's a genre classic, but I admittedly enjoyed myself quite a bit.

The first story: The Telephone. Well, I guess it wouldn't be doing you no harm to spoil most of the plot for this one. The premise says it all; a woman gets terrorized from a man who will not stop calling her. Speculations that this man is a serial killer? Yes, I guess so. The first part of the film is pretty good, and has some really good moments of tension; almost Hitchcock-like in their whimsy. The ending isn't as incredible as it wants to be, but hey: at least it works.

The second story: The Wurdalak. The first thing you may be wondering about is the name. A "Wurdalack" is some sort of demonic presence within the film, which takes form of a child and then a vampire-like man. The story follows a family who gets paid a visit from a creepy old man who turns out to be a vampire. That night, he runs off and takes the child of the house. The child returns in a rather ghastly state, and what happens from there I will not say, for it is not worth spoiling. Perhaps the best of the three parts, this one does not pull any punches; it is what it is. I can't complain.

The third and final story: The Drop of Water. A woman prepares a corpse for its burial by laying it down on a bed. When she sees a good-looking ring on the corpse's finger, the woman takes it out of greed, and the ghost of this woman, or some ghost (I don't know) comes back to haunt her for her humane greediness. Pretty good, with a nice feeling to it. Better than the first part, not as good as the second.

Atmosphere will never get old; and the best horror films will always rely on it. There are masters of suspense (Hitchcock) and masters of the macabre and all things horrific (Argento). This film was directed by the well-known Italian horror filmmaker Mario Bava, and it is one of his finest pictures. "Black Sabbath", as a whole, is pretty creepy and has a good number of scares. Horror fans should be pleased, and really, anybody else should too. This film does not exactly have limited appeal, but most horror films are made for those with a certain passion for the genre. Here's a movie that will exercise some sort of charm for those who admire good horror, and I'm one of those people who just couldn't resist. This is not a perfect film, nor is it a really great one, but "Black Sabbath" is still thoroughly entertaining and creepy enough to be called a horror film. Unlike many films within the genre, it does not abuse the term.

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More Black Sabbath (movie) reviews
review by . May 05, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
black sabbath
Boris Karloff narrates this film which features three fantastic tales of the macabre. In fact, he even plays a vampire (gasp!) in the third tale.       Black Sabbath is colorful, entertaining, & downright frightful. What more could one ask for in a horror film? Many could even argue this is the best film of Mario Bava's career. I wouldn't go that far as of right now but I do think it's definitely one of the best films he made.       For those looking for …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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Director: Mario Bava
Genre: Drama
Release Date: May 6, 1964
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Screen Writer: Lamberto Bava
Runtime: 92 minutes
Studio: American International Pictures
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